Advisors! Here’s the Key to a Successful Consultation

Author | Stacy Hanley


If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of experience, it’s that you can be the most brilliant, well-connected wealth advisor in the world, but if you don’t have the necessary “people skills” to build clients’ trust, well… good luck.


No matter how many clients you convince to walk in your door, or how many people read your blog, or how many webinars you host each month, the one thing that will determine your success as an advisor is the ability to make people feel safe.


So, how do we do that?



We Listen

Yes, you, as the advisor, are the expert. However, the consultation with your client is NOT the time for a presentation on all that you know! Nor is it the time for you to “prove yourself.” 


In fact, if you’re looking to establish and build credibility with new clients, you shouldn’t make that meeting about you at all… 


According to Psychology Today, the most powerful way to build rapport and trust with other people is through active listening. This means rather than listening in order to respond with something clever, quiet your mind, make eye contact, give nonverbal cues to show you are listening like nodding your head and let it be about them.


If you can get your client talking about their goals, fears, and dreams, you’re in the trust-building business. 


So, again, how do we do that?


We Ask Questions

The best way to get your clients to open up is by asking them questions — specifically, “deep discovery” questions. Rather than having your clients focus on any specific costs, these open-ended questions will provide your clients with visualizations that can help demystify what they need to have in place in order to reach their own goals.  


Not only that, but they will start to trust you enough to open up about their hopes, dreams, and goals for the future as they’re talking.


Here are some examples of these kinds of questions.



  • Are you currently living the way you want to be living?
  • If you could add one thing to your lifestyle that would get you closer to how you want to be living, what would it be?
  • What does wealth give you the freedom to do? What do you wish it would allow you to do?




  • How does giving represent values for you (and your family)?
  • What is important for you to accomplish with your philanthropy?




  • Give me an example of a time you got uncomfortable because of the risk involved. 
  • Tell me about the biggest loss you’ve experienced. What’s the biggest financial loss you’ve had?
  • What are the two biggest fears/concerns you have? How do these influence your life?




  • What do you want to be remembered for? 
  • If your children’s children could read your history, what would it say?
  • Who or what was the greatest influence on you in developing your principles? What do you think they would say you are to them?
  • What did you learn from your parents? What do you wish you would have learned? What do you want to pass on? 




  • What’s the thing you’ve always wanted to do, but you’ve never gotten a chance to do?
  • If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?
  • When you were younger, what did you think you’d be doing now?
  • What do you think you have the ability and skill to do, but you’re holding back from doing?




  • Tell me about the most important thing education provided for you.
  • What did you learn from your parents? What do you wish you would have learned? What do you want to pass on?
  • What role does education play for future generations?
  • If you could be an expert in something, what would it be?
  • How are you going about educating your children and grandchildren on your wealth?



Looking Ahead

  • What is the next big thing in your life? And the thing after that?
  • Describe the emotion you feel when you think about the next big phase in your life. 
  • How do you picture the next phase of your life? How do you feel about it?
  • What is important for you to accomplish in the next phase of your life?


Next time you meet with one of your clients for a consultation, try incorporating these questions throughout the conversation to get them dreaming out loud.


Estate Planning with Lefkoff-Duncan

Are you ready to start planning for the future? Lefkoff-Duncan is here to help. Our experienced team will assist you in all of your estate planning endeavors so that you’ll never again need to wonder if you’ve done enough to take care of the ones you love. Give us a call at your convenience at 404-262-2000 to get started.